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15 November 2006, 18:19

Mozilla's take on phishing filters - Firefox better than IE

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A study initiated by Mozilla of the integrated phishing filters in Firefox 2 and Internet Explorer 7 has concluded that the Firefox filter is superior. A Microsoft-financed study naturally comes to a different conclusion.

The Mozilla test used a total of 1,040 websites categorised as phishing sites by the voluntary Phishtank community to test the browsers' phishing filters. With online site checking activated, Firefox 2 blocked just under 79 per cent of these sites, whilst Internet Explorer 7 correctly identified a good 66 per cent as phishing sites.

In contrast, in a Microsoft-financed study in September of this year it was Internet Explorer 7 which had its nose in front. This study tested the browsers ability to recognise 100 known phishing sites and 500 sites known to be harmless. Internet Explorer 7 succeeded in recognising 89 of the phishing websites compared to Firefox 2's 53 per cent. Neither browser produced false positives.

It is therefore not at all clear which phishing filter is better. Neither candidate is able to recognise all phishing sites. As was to be expected, internet users will need to continue to watch out to which sites they decide to entrust their data.

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